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MiniMoka Grinders - All - Jeroen Vriesendorp's Review
Posted: June 14, 2002, 5:51am
review rating: 8.7
feedback: (1) comments | read | write
MiniMoka Grinders - All
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Arrow The MiniMoka Grinders - All has 8 Reviews
Arrow The MiniMoka Grinders - All has been rated 8.25 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since June 13, 2002.
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Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Taco Ekl 10.00
Mats Leidö 9.40
Jeroen Vriesendorp 8.66
Chris Hoffmann 7.66
Chris Cotellini 6.00

Previous Review  
Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 8.2
Manufacturer: MiniMoka Quality: 9
Average Price: Varies Usability: 9
Price Paid: $170.00 Cost vs. Value 9
Where Bought: www.vanpommeren.nl Aesthetics 6
Owned for: 1 year Overall 8
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned: Gaggia MDF grinder
Bottom Line: An excellent, low-cost grinder for espresso - unfortunately suffering from static problems
Positive Product Points

Grinds very well: very consistently, very evenly
Simple to operate
Stepless adjustment very suitable for espresso only
Mechanism is well made & quite sturdy

Negative Product Points

Machine has obvious static problems, spraying grounds from the chute;
Motor/grinding mechanism is quite noisy;
Machine grinds a bit slowly
Housing is rather "basic"

Detailed Commentary

The naming of this product is a bit confusing - the manufacturer of this grinder is Moka Expres, but the home espresso equipment from this company, including the grinder, carries the brand label "Demoka by Minimoka". These names are used interchangeably, but refer to the same product.

Anyway, the reason for switching/upgrading to the Moka Express grinder, was the rather coarse stepsize on my previous grinder (a Gaggia MDF) - pull time between successive "clicks" differed as much as 8 to 10 seconds, which, to me, was not acceptable.
Although I use my grinder for various brewing methods & was aware of the downside of the system (see below), I decided to change to a grinder with stepless adjustment. At the time, the Moka Express M-203 was, to my knowledge, the best buy. The Ascaso Innova may be a close competitor nowadays.

At under US$200 the M-203 is certainly quite affordable, and less expensive than my MDF (note, I'm talking European prices!). In performance, I think it's better. The M-203 will grind very well at settings ranging anywhere from Turkish grind to halved coffee beans.
The grind appears to be better & more consistent than on the MDF, and the grounds drop out of the chute in little balls of nice, even shavings. Both the consistency, and evenness of the grind are partly due to the 50mm hardened steel, precisely machined flat burr set, to the heavy brass mounting construction & in part to the powerful, low-speed (700 rpm) motor. Unfortunately, the price of this is that it grinds rather slowly, taking over 30 seconds to grind for a double shot.
The doserless design will be considered a good thing by some. It is indeed a benefit in that you can easily observe the amount that is dosed directly in the portafilter of your espresso machine. With a bit of experience, you'll know when you're done & you're never left with ground coffee staling in a doser. The downside is, of course, that you can't grind in advance, when you're serving espresso's to a larger group of people.
With respect to the stepless adjustment - this is basically a "primitive" worm-gear system, but it does what it is supposed to do; giving you excellent & very precise control over the fineness of the grind. If your shots take a tad too long, just turn the know a few degrees to get a slightly coarser grind. The worm-drive is sturdy enough to be very consistent, giving you the same grind with each successive shot.

However, moving on to the minor points, there are also some disadvantages.
The main problem concerns the static charge built up in the machine. In dry weather, you will end up with some coffee grounds getting sprayed over the counter. 'Course, it's just dry stuff that you can easily brush away, but it is a bit annoying.
This is another point where you will come to miss the doser. If the grinder had one, you could wait a few seconds for the static charge to disappear.
The rather noisy grinding mechanism of the M-203 grinder is another downside. Apparently, the engineers didn't put much effort in reducing the noise.
One minor issue is the inherent trade-off of any stepless adjustment. Yes, it absolutely rock when you use the grinder for espresso only, but the price of that is that it takes more time to switch between the setting used for espresso, and the setting used for, say, your vacuum brewer. 'Course, the same holds for eg. a Mazzer Mini.
A last point is the grinders casing; it does conceal the innards of the machine & it may fit the style of some espresso machines, but I doubt it won any design awards. It has recently come to my attention that Moka Express will this year be releasing an updated model (called the M-205) of the grinder described above. This model has some minor cosmetically improvements, but is, as far as I know, identical on the inside.

In all, though, if price is your primary concern & you don't care much for looks & don't mind a wee bit of a dust on the counter, then the M-203 delivers. The Demoka grinder does what it should do, it does that very well & at a very low price.
Would I buy it again? Considering my limited budget, yes. Of course, there are better grinders, but for its price, the Moka Express M-203 is an excellent choice & I can certainly live with its minor downsides.

(Note: I do not know if either the M-203 or the M-205 are, or will be available in a 110V version.)

Buying Experience

I bought my unit in the Netherlands at Van Pommeren (http://www.vanpommeren.nl/) & am quite satisfied with their prices & service. Certainly recommendable.

Previous Review  
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review rating: 8.7
Posted: June 14, 2002, 5:51am
feedback: (1) comments | read | write
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